Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Cherry Tomato and Burrata Bruschetta

Before tomato season is a thing of the past,  I hope you can try this simple and delightful appetizer.  It is a perfect way to use all of those cherry tomatoes growing like crazy in your garden. Right now, my cherry tomatoes are ripening so quickly that we can barely eat them all.  Sweet Million and Sun Sugar have been very prolific varieties for me here in SE Wisconsin.  Don't worry if you only have regular tomatoes either!  Just cut them into small pieces and let the seeds and juice drain before using.

There are endless versions of bruschetta with tomatoes on the internet but this recipe (or more of a technique) was passed along to me by a good friend and we have enjoyed it several times in the past few weeks. This is not original or unique - just delicious!

All you need is some really good, ripe tomatoes, a sliced and toasted baguette and a ball of burrata cheese, which is a type of soft cheese made with mozzarella and cream.  It's so good! My grocery store sells the BelGioioso brand.

If you don't grow tomatoes yourself, perhaps you can find some good, locally grown tomatoes at the farmers' market nearby.  Slice the tomatoes into small pieces and squeeze out as much of the juice as you can.  Add a little aged balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and toss.

Let your guests help themselves and add as much cheese and tomatoes as they like! Our whole family loves it - even the young grandsons, although their favorite part is the baguette toasts and cheese ;)

Bon appetit!

Cherry Tomato Bruschetta with Burrata

Printable Recipe

Makes about 18-20 Bruschetta, depending on how large a baguette you are using.  Adjust the amount of tomatoes accordingly.

1 large French Baguette (I like Costco's baguettes)
About 2 pints of cherry (or 2-3 large) tomatoes
1 ball of Burrata cheese
Fresh basil leaves
Aged Balsamic
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oven broiler to low (or set oven to 375).  Slice the baguette diagonally into between 1/4 and 1/2 inch pieces.  Arrange on a baking sheet. Brush slices on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with finely grown pepper on one side. Toast in the oven for about 3-5 minutes per side, depending on your oven.  Watch carefully, so they don't burn, especially if you are using the broiler.  Allow to cool.  The baguette toasts can be made ahead.

Slice tomatoes into small pieces and remove as much of the seeds and juice as you can. A little juice and seeds left is fine. Place them into a small bowl and drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper to taste.  Add some sliced basil before serving.  

On a serving platter, arrange the baguette slices, around the outside, and place the tomatoes and Burrata cheese in the center. Allow your guests to serve themselves.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Frozen Lemon Pie with Blueberry Sauce

Are you ready for the last holiday of summer? Do you need a dessert for your cook out this weekend? I may have the perfect idea for you.  Able to be made in advance,  it can help to make your holiday entertaining easy.

This dessert was on our Gourmet group menu that I've talked about in my last two posts.  A great finale to a wonderful night and the last of the recipes I'd like to share from our dinner party.

Cool and refreshing, this creamy pie in a graham cracker crust is like almost like eating lemon ice cream.  The lemony, blueberry topping is the perfect garnish, along with a dollop of whipped cream.  

Have a sturdy knife to slice the pie and get ready for lots of compliments!

Oh my gosh, did I say Labor Day?  September is the month when summer seems to slip away so quickly. The days seem to get shorter quickly and the evenings start to get cool here in the Midwest. We pack so much into a few short months that summer goes by in a flash.  Fingers crossed September will be kind to us and hurricanes will be kept off our shores.  My heart goes out to the people of Houston and those areas affected by Harvey.

Frozen Lemon Pie with Blueberry Sauce

For the crust (Make first)

1-1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Vegetable cooking spray

Preheat oven to 325°

In a food processor, pulse crackers, sugar and salt until finely crushed and well combined. Add melted butter, and process until thoroughly combined. Alternatively, you can crush the graham crackers in a zipper bag with a rolling pin or meat mallet.
Then, add the other ingredients until well blended.

Lightly grease a 9 inch pie plate with baking spray. Press the graham cracker mixture on the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

Bake crust 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

For the filling:

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
Lemon zest from one large lemon (about a tablespoon)
Lemon Juice from 2-3 lemons (about 1/2 cup)

3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325°.

Whisk the first 3 ingredients in a bowl.

In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks at high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until yolks become pale and create ribbons on the surface when the beater is lifted. Slowly whisk in sweetened condensed milk mixture until thoroughly combined.
Then add buttermilk and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into baked and cooled crust.

Bake pie at 325° for 20 to 25 minutes, until set around edges. The pie will still be slightly jiggly. Cool pie on a wire rack for 1 hour.

Lightly spray a large piece of plastic wrap and cover pie. Freeze for at least 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

Keeps well in freezer for several days.
For the Blueberry Topping:

(Makes about 1-1/2 cups)

2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest from one large organic lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring 1 cup blueberries, sugar, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes, or until mixture has thickened and berries begin to break down.
Remove from heat, and stir in remaining 1 cup blueberries. Cool completely; cover and chill until ready to use.

When ready to serve, remove pie from freezer. Using a large knife dipped in warm water, cut pie into slices and serve with sweetened whipped cream and blueberry sauce.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine.